Monthly Archives: June 2013

Garden Boxes, Peppers, Peas, and Okra for kids!

Building Raised Garden Boxes and Watching our kids watching PEPPERS, PEAS, & OKRA grow has kept me in smiles recently! Want a peek at part of what has been happening in our yard this season?

I enjoy every season, but I must admit that being so fair (um, pale) skinned, summer hadn’t always been a favorite. It is amazing how different I feel about summer as my garden interests have grown through the years, especially now that my daughters are interested in raising edibles!

(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)



(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)

4ft. by 4ft. might be the most common dimension for traditional square foot gardening, however we built 6ft. by 3ft. raised garden beds for our daughters’ melons and vegetables in order to minimize cost and minimize waste of material by using readily available, USA cedar fence pickets!!

We are quite pleased with how easy it was to source materials, how easy the planting boxes were to assemble, and how well Bonnie plants and Burpee seeds are performing for our daughters!

We have built a total of 5, so far, but have room for a few more!


Basically, we needed the raised beds to be affordable, large enough to plant what we want on our rocky hilltop yard, yet small enough that the kids can reach into the center for planting and harvesting. The kids helped with the entire process, including excavation of the plots where the boxes sit!

Tools for box construction:
power chop saw; cordless drill with drill bit and Phillips head bit; stapler

Supplies purchased:
We bought 6″ wide 6′ long fence pickets (6 pickets per box, the ends are half length pickets)
4inch by 4inch post, 6′ long (cut into 1′ long sections)
Plastic sheeting, 12mil. thickness (keeps water and soil from escaping between the pickets, simulating using much more expensive wider width lumber. DO NOT cover the bottom of the box, as drainage is important!)

Plants and Soil, Manure, & Organic Compost:
Our daughters are interested in trying to raise a variety of edibles! So far, things are going well! We’re already harvesting some things, watching blooms on others, and trying to decide what else to raise as the seasons change!

We are so pleased with our plants, so far!
Here is a peek at the variety of BONNIE Peppers that our kids are already harvesting and BURPEE Sweet Peas we harvested are planted beside our BONNIE Okra that will be ready soon, as modeled by our two older daughters, Caroline and Abigail.


BONNIE Plants and BURPEE seeds may have just reached a completely untapped, youth market audience for their products in our neighborhood! As far as we’ve seen, we’re the only family in our neighborhood growing vegetables this year. The neighborhood kids seem fascinated when our daughters show them their vegetable gardens and talk about the plants! LOVE!! We’re enjoying ourselves, so it is very rewarding for there to be so much interest in our little gardens! It won’t surprise me at all to see more of this style of gardening start popping throughout these suburban backyards! They’re just so fun! They’re great additions beside our RAINBOW swing set/playground, trampoline, and basketball court!

Next on our “to-do” list? Our middle daughter will be in 3rd grade this next school year, and I hear that BONNIE plants has a 3rd grade cabbage patch program! We’re interested! We’ve never tried our hand at growing cabbage before! It would be fun to try! I wonder if Mitch would be willing to make a few more of these garden boxes for Abigail’s elementary school? 😃😃😃😃

We’ll post more updates on other things growing in our gardens and fruit trees in the backyard, soon!

“Later, ‘Gators, and Afterwhile, Crocodiles!”
Your Friend,

~Amber Hamilton Henson

This article is featured in Hat Trick magazine, page 108-111. Click on magazine cover to be re-directed:
Hat Trick magazine


Linking this post to these great blog parties:
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ “Sunday Link Up”
We Made That’s “Made by Kids! #45”

Culantro Lime Rice

Prepare to fall in love with your food. Really. Don’t doubt me. Do it. You’ll see!


We’re growing CULANTRO this year and loving using it in a variety of recipes where we would have otherwise used cilantro. As I mentioned in a previous post, the appearance of cilantro and culantro are very different, but the flavor profiles are similar, except that culantro is a bit deeper. We’re really enjoying using Culantro. Of all of the ways we’re using it, this is one of my favorite recipes.


CULANTRO LIME RICE: make it in two easy steps!

2.5 cups white rice
5 cups of water
2 bouillon cubes (chicken)
2-4 limes (for zest, then 1/3 cup of juice, later)
10+ medium-large CULANTRO leaves
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 to 3/4 stick of butter (preference)

1) In a large pot, add 2-3 cups white rice using twice as much water as rice, adding 2 large chicken bouillon cubes into the pot with the rice, zest of 1-2 limes, and several CULANTRO leaves that have been cut into slivers. Do not lift lid of the pot until the rice is done cooking, as steam is essential for rice to finish properly. (Cooking rice should be done according to package directions,

2) When the rice is done cooking, pour a mixture of salted butter (melted in a glass measuring cup in the microwave), 1/4 cup of sugar, and juice of 2-4 limes over the rice and fluff/stir it all with a fork. Garnish with additional CULANTRO and lime slice for best presentation!

(Click on photo to enlarge.)


I served this CULANTRO LIME RICE beside chicken roasted with a Mango Ginger Chutney. It was amazing.


Your turn!

~Amber Hamilton Henson

This recipe will link to blog parties:
Shabby Nest’s “Frugal Friday”
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ “Sunday Link up”
Elizabeth and Co.’s “Be Inspired #76”
The Trendy Treehouse’s “Share Wednesday”

P.S. Le Creuset Thursday!! Hey friends, I just posted a recipe link to P. Allen Smith’s Facebook page (